The endocrine system secretes various hormones, which regulate a variety of functions of the human body. This article lists out diseases associated with the endocrine system.
The endocrine system consists of organs which help in regulation of various functions such as metabolism, growth, and development. There is a special branch of science that studies the endocrine system, known as endocrinology.
This system consists of glands that secrete a number of hormones, and therefore diseases and disorders affecting this system are related to the secretion of these hormones.
Classification of Endocrine Diseases
The broad classification of diseases is based on the hormonal secretions. They are as follows:
- Hypersecretion (Excessive secretion of hormones)
- Hyposecretion (Insufficient secretion of hormones)
- Cancer or tumors in the endocrine glands
The disorders however, display a more complex mechanism or pathogenesis. There is sometimes an interplay of certain hormones being hypersecreted due to the hyposecretion of another. The endocrine gland secretes different hormones that regulate a variety of functions, therefore a disorder of these glands can cause an abnormality in a number of organs.
List of Endocrine Diseases
The endocrine glands in the human body are the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and pituitary. The following diseases are categorized according to these glands.
These glands are in the neck, behind the thyroid gland. These glands maintain calcium homeostasis in the body. Hence disorders of these glands are related to altered calcium metabolism which can be the reason for bone disorders as well.
The disorders and diseases of this gland are as follows:
- Primary hyperparathyroidism – Hyper function of the parathyroid glands.
- Secondary hyperparathyroidism – Mostly caused due to hypercalcemia that afects the glands.
- Tertiary hyperparathyroidism – Hyperplasia of the parathyroid glands.
- Hypoparathyroidism – Decreased secretion of parathyroid hormones.
- Osteoporosis – It is bone disease caused due lack of minerals, especially calcium, when parathyroid gland does not function well.
- Rickets – It is seen in children due to lack of Vitamin D and calcium.
- Osteomalacia – It is a form of rickets observed in adults.
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys in humans. These glands mostly secrete hormones that govern human behavior and moods, known as corticosteroids like cortisol, and catecholamines like epinephrine. The disorders of this gland are therefore mostly mood altering disorders, these are mentioned below.
- Addison’s disease – It is caused due to hyposecretion of hormones by the adrenals.
- Conn’s syndrome is caused due to an overproduction of aldosterone.
- Cushing’s syndrome is a disorder caused due to an increased secretion of cortisol
- Pheochromocytoma is a tumor in the medulla of the adrenal glands
- Adrenocortical carcinoma – It is a rare cancer of the adrenal glands.
This is a list of endocrine disorders caused by hyposecretion or hypersecretion of hormones by the thyroid gland.
- Goiter – Enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Hyperthyroidism – Increased secretion of thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine hormones
- Hypothyroidism – Deficiency of thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine hormones.
- Thyroiditis – Hashimotos thyroiditis is most common
- Thyroid cancer – Development of malignant tumors in the thyroid gland.
This gland secretes the maximum number of hormones in the human body that regulate growth and development. Thus, the list of diseases caused due to an abnormal pituitary gland or alterations in secretion of any hormone are many.
- Diabetes insipidus is caused due to insufficient secretion of vasopressin secreted by the posterior pituitary gland.
- Hypopitutiarism – Decreased secretion of pituitary hormones
- Acromegaly is caused due to an overproduction of growth hormone.
- Prolactinoma is a tumor that causes increased secretion of prolactin.
- Sex hormone disorders – Pituitary gland secretes various sex hormones, thus altered secretion of these affects the sexual development or regulation of sexual characteristics.
In addition to this, another endocrine secretion is insulin secreted by the Islets of Langerhans of the pancreas. Insufficient secretion of this hormone leads to diabetes mellitus, which is a common disorder. This disorder can be a result of a hectic lifestyle or it may also have a genetic component that may predispose an individual to diabetes.
This list covers most of the diseases caused by a defect in hormonal secretions. There is no common diagnosis for these diseases. Each one has its unique set of symptoms that have to be identified and then treated.